Charles B. Shattuck

President of the National Association of REALTORS® - 1953

Charles B. Shattuck* was a veteran of World War I at age 19, a builder of highways, tunnels and dams at 22, and a newcomer to real estate brokerage and appraisal at 23.

During his year as president of NAREB, he focused on three important programs: expanding the “build America Better” renovation campaign; urging the formation of a central mortgage association and regional national mortgage associations as secondary mortgage markets; and the development of a national federation of property owners with the chief purpose being to secure a constitutional amendment to prohibit invasions of property rights by government.

Mr. Shattuck started his year by directing the “Build America Better” program into five specific areas of concern. First, he encouraged the enforcement of those housing ordinances which outlawed slums. Secondly, he urged a revision of zoning practices, and a more equitable distribution of local taxes. Finally, he called for long-range planning for neighborhood conservation as well as the development of workable transportation and parking plans for urban areas.

As a result, 1953 set an all-time record in rehabilitation and elimination of slums. Nationwide, more that 69,000 dwellings were brought up to city ordinance standards, and 8,300 units deemed unfit for renovation were demolished. Likewise, federally imposed rent controls, known to have a decaying affect on neighborhoods, were lifted in August. Another legislative victory for REALTORS® that year was a significant reduction in the number of public housing starts.

A newspaper cartoon appearing in the Memphis Appeal depicted the REALTOR® renovation efforts as the batteries in a large flashlight that was then shined on “disgraceful slums.” The caption read “Let’s See What We Can Do.”

When mortgage money tightened at mid-year, Mr. Shattuck urged government to form regional mortgage associations, chartered and supervised by a central national mortgage association, which would enlarge mortgage financing to meet the expanding demand.

Mr. Shattuck was long active in REALTOR® activities, serving as president of the American Institute of Real Estate Appraisers as well as the California Association of REALTORS®. He served as a faculty member of the University of Southern California lecturing on real estate principals and land economics. He was appointed by Gov. Earl Warren of California as a member of the State Real Estate Board.

With an eye on the future, Mr. Shattuck formed a committee on cooperative housing during his term, charging it with exploring the potential for mutually-owned housing in urban areas. “We are challenged by the fact that most big-city families live in apartments and are barred from owning their homes…unless some sound workable program is developed, we are putting a ceiling on home ownership,” he said.

Source: Presidents of the National Association of REALTORS®, (Chicago: NAR, 1980).